LS polls: AAP, Cong to share seats in Delhi, Gujarat, Goa, Haryana; contest separately in Punjab

NEW DELHI: It is official now! The AAP and the Congress on Saturday finally announced their seat-sharing arrangements for Delhi, Goa, Gujarat and Haryana for the impending Lok Sabha elections. In the national capital, the two parties have agreed to four seats for the AAP and three for the Congress. In Haryana, the Congress will contest nine of the 10 Lok Sabha seats. And of the 26 seats in Gujarat, the grand old party will field candidates in 24 seats and the AAP gets the coveted Bharuch constituency. The BJP dubbed the pact an “alliance of corrupts”.

The coming together of the AAP and the Congress will make the Delhi Lok Sabha elections a bipolar contest with the BJP, which seeks to repeat a clean sweep in all seven constituencies for the third time in a row. In 2014 and 2019, the BJP candidates polled more votes than the joint tally of the Congress and the AAP candidates.

The AAP will field its candidates on four seats -- New Delhi, South Delhi, West Delhi and East Delhi, while the Congress will contest the North East Delhi, North West Delhi and Chandni Chowk constituencies.

In a joint press conference with the AAP leaders, Congress general secretary Mukul Wasnik said, “Although the Congress is contesting on three seats in Delhi, its workers and leaders will endeavour for the victory of INDIA bloc in all seven constituencies.”

AAP general secretary (organisation) Sandeep Pathak said, “The party entered into an alliance by sidelining its own political interests as it believes that the country is important and the party secondary... Basically, all seven seats suit the AAP in terms of winnability, but for Delhi, we have agreed to the choice given by the Congress.”

The AAP sources said, “From West Delhi, the party is considering former MP Mahabal Mishra. while from South Delhi the AAP may field sitting MLA from Chhatarpur Kartar Singh Tanwar.”

“It is still not clear who will contest from the New Delhi constituency, but one of the sitting Cabinet minister of Delhi will be fielded. The East Delhi picture is not yet clear,” the AAP sources said.

The Congress sources indicated that city Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely or former three-time MP J.P. Aggarwal are the frontrunners for the North East seat. From Chandni Chowk, former MP Sandeep Dikshit is the top contender, while former MP Udit Raj is likely to contest from the North West Delhi constituency, the seat that he won in 2014 on the BJP symbol.

Taking a dig at the alliance, BJP leader and Union minister Hardeep Puri said, “The most curious part of this “dysfunctional" alliance is that "they will be together in Delhi, but against each other in Punjab. The path to hell (or in this case, political oblivion!) is paved with skewed alliances.”

Mr Puri, in a post on X, said, “If the opportunist alliance between the AAP and the Congress even manages to survive its inherent contradictions, it will be the most bizarre political combination in every sense. One that tries to pull the wool over the eyes of their own voters.”

Out of the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana, the Congress will contest nine, while the AAP will field its candidate in Kurukshetra.

The Congress will contest both the Lok Sabha seats in Goa and the lone seat in Chandigarh, with the AAP backing the Congress’s candidates.

According to the seat-sharing arrangement, in Gujarat, the AAP will contest the Bharuch and Bhavnagar seats. The Congress will field candidates on the remaining 24 parliamentary constituencies.

The two AAP's Gujarat MLAs -- Chaitar Vasava and Umeshbhai Makwana -- will contest from the Bharuch and Bhavnagar seats, respectively.
On Bharuch, a stronghold of late Congress leader Ahmed Patel, falling into the AAP's kitty, Mr Wasnik hoped that all the Congress workers will respect the decision.

By the looks of it, the decision has not gone down well with Faisal Patel and Mumtaz Patel, the son and daughter of Ahmed Patel. Faisal said the Congress workers are not happy with the decision, but he will abide by it. Mumtaz, in a post on social media, issued an apology to the Congress workers and asked them to regroup to strengthen the party.

Regarding Punjab, Mr Wasnik said that given the "special circumstances" that exist in the state, the AAP and the Congress have decided to contest the Lok Sabha polls separately in the state.

Commenting on Punjab, Mr Pathak said, “People are intelligent and they understand everything.”

About the campaign strategy of the INDIA bloc, the AAP leader added that it will be discussed at a later stage, asserting that the tieup will upset the “calculations and strategy” of the BJP.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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